Degree Offered

  • Bachelor of Science

Nature of Program

The biochemistry curriculum prepares students for careers requiring a strong background in basic principles of the physical and life sciences. The program is a collaborative effort between the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, and the Departments of Biology and Chemistry in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Students completing a biochemistry major are prepared for professional employment in the expanding fields of agricultural and environmental sciences, chemical industry, health-related industries and biotechnology-based industries. The curriculum provides students with the interdisciplinary background in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and molecular biology necessary as preparation for professional schools of human and veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, and pharmacy. It also provides strong preparation for graduate study in fields such as animal and plant agriculture, biochemistry, biology, molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology, chemistry, food science, nutrition and physiology. The curriculum is accredited by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The degree requirements for a American Chemical Society certified degree can be met within the framework of the program.

Performance Requirements

To maintain biochemistry major status and to graduate, students must maintain at least a 2.0 overall GPA and a 2.0 cumulative GPA in coursework in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry.


All students have the possibility of earning one or more minors; list of all available minors and their requirements. Please note that students may not earn a minor in their major field.

Admissions Requirements

Entering freshman are admitted directly into the major.

Students coming from another major can be admitted with a minimum overall GPA of 2.0.

Benchmark Expectations

By the end of their third semester in the major students are expected to have completed BIOL 115, BIOL 117, and CHEM 115 OR CHEM 115, CHEM 116, and BIOL 115 with a minimum grade of C- in each course and an overall GPA of 2.0.

Students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 in the major and overall.  All majors must attend an advising session with their Biochemistry advisor each semester.

Click the appropriate link below to view the corresponding Biochemistry Track Requirements and Suggested Plans of Study.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

University Requirements19
First-Year Seminar
GEF Requirements: number of credits will vary depending on overlap
Program Core Requirements5
Orientation to Biochemistry
Introductory Biochemistry (Minimum grade of C-)
Introduction to Biochemistry Wet Laboratory (Minimum grade of C-)
Biology Requirement15
Principles of Biology (Minimum grade of C-. May substitute BIOL 101-104)
Introductory Physiology (Minimum grade of C-)
The Living Cell (Minimum grade of C-)
Advanced Cellular/Molecular Biology
Chemistry Requirement28
Select one set (Minimum grade of C-):
Fundamentals of Chemistry
and Fundamentals of Chemistry
and Introductory Analytical Chemistry
Principles of Chemistry
and Principles of Chemistry
and all of the following:
Organic Chemistry (Minimum grade of C-)
Organic Chemistry (Minimum grade of C-)
Organic Chemistry Laboratory (Minimum grade of C-)
Organic Chemistry Laboratory (Minimum grade of C-)
Physical Chemistry: Brief Course
Experimental Physical Chemistry
Biochemistry 2
Biochemistry 2 Laboratory
Mathematics and Statistics Requirement8
Minimum grade of C-
Calculus 1
Calculus 1a with Precalculus
and Calculus 1b with Precalculus
Calculus 2
STAT 211Elementary Statistical Inference3
A track is required.31
Number of credits may vary depending on courses selected
Biochemistry Electives
General Microbiology
Environmental Microbiology
Soil Microbiology
Food Microbiology
Undergraduate Research Experience 1
Undergraduate Research Experience 2
Senior Thesis
Nutritional Biochemistry
Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory
Animal Biotechnology
Introduction to Animal Physiology
Growth and Lactation Physiology
Animal Physiology Laboratory
Physiology of Reproduction
Values and Ethics
Current Literature in Animal Science
Senior Thesis
Introduction to Virology
Molecular Basis of Cellular Growth
Molecular Genetics
and Molecular Genetics Laboratory
Cell Physiology
Neuroscience 1
Plant Physiology
Undergraduate Research
Cell and Molecular Biology Methods
Introduction to Recombinant DNA
Molecular Endocrinology
Molecular Endocrinology-Laboratory
Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids and Proteins
Protein Structure and Function
Developmental Genetics
Molecular Biology of Cancer
Forensic Biology
General Animal Physiology
Comparative Anatomy
Vertebrate Microanatomy
Molecular Basis of Disease
Senior Thesis
Instrumental Analysis
Environmental Chemistry
Organic Syntheses
Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry
Forensic Chemistry
Senior Thesis
Mass Spectrometry Principles and Practices
Bioanalytical Chemistry
Biochemical Toxicology
Principles of Entomology
Pest Management
Food Microbiology
Food Microbiology Lab
Principles of Genetics
Advanced Nutrition
Medical Nutrition Therapy 1
Medical Nutrition Therapy 2
Plant Propagation
General Plant Pathology
Animal Pathology
Veterinary Anatomy
Capstone Requirement
ASBMB Track, select one of the following options:
Undergraduate Research Experience 1
and Undergraduate Research Experience 2
Values and Ethics
ACS Track, complete both of the following:
Chemical Literature
and Undergraduate Seminar
General Electives11
Number of electives may vary depending on course options selected
Total Hours120

American Chemical Society (ACS) Track

CHEM 310Instrumental Analysis3
CHEM 401Chemical Literature (Minimum grade of C-)1
CHEM 403Undergraduate Seminar1
CHEM 422Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry3
CHEM 497Research3
PHYS 111General Physics (Minimum grade of C-)4
PHYS 112General Physics (Minimum grade of C-)4
Biochemistry Electives (See list above)12
Total Hours31

suggested plan of study for the american chemical society (acs) track

First Year
ANRD 1911GEF 43
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3BIOL 117 (GEF 8)4
AGBI 1991CHEM 116 (GEF 8)*4
BIOL 115 (GEF 2)4MATH 1564
CHEM 115 (GEF 8)*4 
MATH 155 (GEF 3)4 
 17 15
Second Year
BIOL 2194ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
4GEF 53
PHYS 1114BIOL 3103
STAT 2113CHEM 234
CHEM 236
 PHYS 1124
 15 17
Third Year
GEF 63F 73
AGBI 410
AGBI 412
4CHEM 341
CHEM 342
CHEM 2154CHEM 462
CHEM 464
Biochemistry Elective 13General Elective3
 14 14
Fourth Year
CHEM 401 (Capstone)1CHEM 3103
CHEM 4223CHEM 403 (Capstone)1
CHEM 4973Biochemistry Elective 33
Biochemistry Elective 23Biochemistry Elective 43
General Elective3General Elective3
General Elective2 
 15 13
Total credit hours: 120

American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Track

AGBI 401Senior Seminar in Biochemistry1
BIOL 313Molecular Basis of Cellular Growth3
or BIOL 410 Cell and Molecular Biology Methods
Choose one of the following:3
Undergraduate Research Experience 1
and Undergraduate Research Experience 2
Values and Ethics
BIOL 423Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids and Proteins3
Choose one of the following:8
Introductory Physics
and Introductory Physics
Introductory Physics
and General Physics
General Physics
and General Physics
Biochemistry Electives (see list above)13
Total Hours31


First Year
ANRD 1911GEF 43
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3BIOL 117 (GEF 8)4
AGBI 1991CHEM 116 (GEF 8)*4
BIOL 115 (GEF 2)4MATH 1564
CHEM 115 (GEF 8)*4 
MATH 155 (GEF 3)4 
 17 15
Second Year
BIOL 2194ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
4GEF 53
PHYS 1014BIOL 3103
STAT 2113CHEM 234
CHEM 236
 PHYS 1024
 15 17
Third Year
GEF 63GEF 73
AGBI 410
AGBI 412
4BIOL 313 or 4103
CHEM 215*4CHEM 341
CHEM 342
Biochemistry Elective 13CHEM 462
CHEM 464
 14 14
Fourth Year
BIOL 4233AGBI 4011
Biochemistry Elective 24Biochemistry Elective 43
Biochemistry Elective 33Capstone3
General Elective 3General Elective3
General Elective 2General Elective3
 15 13
Total credit hours: 120

Major Learning Outcomes


Graduates will demonstrate a working knowledge in the following core concepts:

  1. Energy is required by and transformed in biological systems.
  2. Macromolecular structure determines function and regulation.
  3. Information storage and flow are dynamic and interactive.
  4. Discovery requires objective measurement, quantitative analysis, and clear communications.
  5. The pervasive role evolution and homeostasis play in shaping the form and function of all biological molecules and organisms.

AGBI 199. Orientation to Biochemistry. 1,2 Hour.

Orientation to degree programs and requirements, departmental resources, curriculum options, student responsibilities and opportunities.

AGBI 293. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

AGBI 298. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study, or research.

AGBI 386. Undergraduate Research Experience 1. 1,2 Hour.

PR: At least sophomore standing and faculty permission. Students will write a research proposal, conduct supervised research, and write a progress report. This course is the first of a two-course sequence that leads to a research-based capstone experience. Students must also complete AGBI 486 for this to serve as the Biochemistry Capstone course.

AGBI 393. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

AGBI 401. Senior Seminar in Biochemistry. 1 Hour.

PR: Senior standing in biochemistry. Students select a topic at the forefront of biochemistry and gather information on the subject. Students then read, critically evaluate, write about the subject and present the topic in a seminar.

AGBI 403. Applied Biochemistry Literature. 3 Hours.

PR: Senior standing. Biochemistry Capstone Experience involving literature review, grant writing, and orally defending a proposal.

AGBI 410. Introductory Biochemistry. 3 Hours.

PR: CHEM 231 or (CHEM 233 or CHEM 235). Introduction to chemistry of cellular constituents (proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, enzymes and coenzymes) and their metabolism in animals and plants.

AGBI 411. Introductory Biochemistry Laboratory. 1 Hour.

PR or CONC: AGBI 410. Experiments to demonstrate certain principles and properties of animal and plant biochemicals.

AGBI 412. Introduction to Biochemistry Wet Laboratory. 1 Hour.

PR or CONC:AGBI 410 or Consent. Classic and modern techniques in biochemistry.

AGBI 480. Assigned Topics. 1-4 Hours.

AGBI 486. Undergraduate Research Experience 2. 2-4 Hours.

PR: AGBI 386 and faculty permission. Continuation of a research-based Capstone Experience where students will conduct supervised research, present their research, and prepare a final report. This course is the second of a two-course research-based sequence and must be completed after AGBI 386 to count as the capstone experience.

AGBI 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

AGBI 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

AGBI 492. Directed Study. 1-3 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and or research.

AGBI 493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

AGBI 494. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

AGBI 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty-supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

AGBI 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

AGBI 497. Research. 1-6 Hours.

Independent research projects.


Animal and Nutritional Sciences Director

  • Robert L. Taylor - Ph.D. (Mississippi State University)
    Professor of Poultry Science, Animal physiology, Immunology

Biology Chair

  • Richard B. Thomas - Ph.D.
    Professor of Physiological plant ecology, Forest ecology, Global climate change

Chemistry Chair

  • Gregory Dudley - Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
    Eberly Family Distinguished Professor and Department Chair, Natural Product Synthesis, Organic Chemistry


  • Ashok P. Bidwai - Ph.D.
    Molecular genetic analysis of protein kinase, CK2 in Drosophila
  • Kenneth P. Blemings - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Dean of the Honors College, Protein and Amino Acid Metabolism
  • Jonathan R. Cumming - Ph.D. (Cornell University)
    Environmental plant physiology, Ecophysiology of root-mycorrhizal-soil interactions, Urban ecology
  • Robert A. Dailey - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Reproductive physiology
  • Kevin Daly - Ph.D. (University of Arizona)
    Sensory neurobiology, Neural coding, Brain-behavior interactions, Comparative psycho-biology
  • Stephen DiFazio - Ph.D. (Oregon State University)
    Plant genomics, Molecular ecology, Plant population genetics, Biotechnology risk assessment
  • Terry Gullion - Ph.D. (William and Mary)
    Physical chemistry, Solid State NMR, Biological Materials, Polymers
  • Lisa A. Holland - Ph.D. (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
    Analytical chemistry, Micro-separations, High-throughput drug screening
  • Jacek Jaczynski - Ph.D. (Oregon State University)
    Food Safety
  • Charles Jaffe - Ph.D. (University of Colorado)
    Theoretical chemistry, Molecular dynamics, Chaotic systems
  • P. Brett Kenney - Ph.D. (Kansas State University)
    Muscle protein functionality
  • Fred L. King - Ph.D. (University of Virginia)
    Analytical chemistry, Mass spectrometry, Trace elements, Gas-phase chemistry
  • Hillar Klandorf - Ph.D. (British Council for National Academic Awards)
    Oxidative stress and aging
  • Kristen Matak - Ph.D. (Virginia Tech)
    Food science and human nutrition
  • James B. McGraw
    Plant ecology: Evolutionary ecology of perennial plants, Conservation biology, Demography, Forest remote sensing
  • Joseph S. Moritz - Ph.D. (Kansas State University)
    Effect of feed form on animal performance
  • William T. Peterjohn - Ph.D.
    Ecosystem ecology
  • Jeffrey L. Petersen - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Associate Chairperson, Chemistry; Physical inorganic chemistry, Electrophilic transition metal complexes, X-ray crystallography
  • Kenneth Showalter - Ph.D. (University of Colorado)
    Bennett Distinguished Professor, physical chemistry, Chemical kinetics, Multi-stability and oscillating chemical systems
  • Bjorn Soderberg - Ph.D. (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
    Organic synthesis using transition metals
  • Janet C. L. Tou - Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
    Human nutrition and foods
  • Kung Wang - Ph.D. (Purdue University)
    Eberly Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Organic chemistry
  • Matthew Wilson - Ph.D. (Iowa State University)
    Reproductive physiology
  • Jianbo Yao - Ph.D. (McGill University)
    Functional genomics

Associate Professors

  • Kimberly M. Barnes - Ph.D. (University of Nebraska)
    Coordinator, Intercollegiate Undergraduate Program in Biochemistry; Lipid metabolism
  • Clifton P. Bishop - Ph.D. (University of Virginia)
    Molecular genetics, Developmental biology, Forensic biology
  • Scott Bowdridge - Ph.D. (Virginia Tech)
    Veterinary immunology
  • Jonathan Boyd - Ph.D. (Texas Tech University)
    Analytical biochemistry and toxicology
  • Sarah M. Farris - Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
    Evolution and development of the insect brain, Neuroanatomy
  • Eugene E. Felton - Ph.D. (University of Missouri)
    Ruminant nutrition
  • Fabien Goulay - Ph.D. (University of Rennes)
    Physical chemistry, Laser spectroscopy
  • Jennifer Hawkins - Ph.D.
    Plant comparative genomics, Molecular evolution
  • Marlon Knights - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Reproductive physiology
  • K. Marie Krause - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Dairy science nutrition
  • Justin Legleiter - Ph.D. (Carnegie Mellon University)
    Biophysical chemistry, Atomic force microscopy
  • Michelle Richards-Babb - Ph.D. (Lehigh University)
    Office of Undergraduate Research; Chemical education
  • Rita V.M. Rio - Ph.D. (Yale University)
  • Stephen Valentine - Ph.D. (Indiana University)
    Mass spectrometric analysis of biomolecules

Clinical Associate Professors

  • Donna Ford-Werntz - Ph.D. (Washington University/Missouri Botanical Garden)
    Plant systematics: Portulacaceae, West Virginia flora

Teaching Associate Professors

  • Megan Govidan - M.P.H., M.S., R.D. (West Virginia University)
    Human nutrition and foods
  • Margaret A. Minch - D.V.M. (The Ohio State University)
    Veterinary medicine
  • Joshua Osbourn - Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)
    Organic chemistry
  • Betsy Ratcliff - Ph.D. (University of Binghamton-SUNY)
    Physical chemistry
  • Tabitha R. Razunguzwa - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    General chemistry
  • Crystal Smith - Ed.D. (West Virginia University)
    Equine studies
  • Jennifer Stueckle - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Aquatic toxicology
  • Mingming Xu - Ph.D. (Ohio University)
    Analytical chemistry

Assistant professors

  • Craig Barrett - Ph.D.
    Evolutionary biology
  • Sadie Bergeron - Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts - Amherst)
    Developmental genetics
  • Edward Brzostek - Ph.D.
    Forest ecology and Ecosystem modeling
  • Andrew Dacks - Ph.D. (University of Arizona)
  • Tim Driscoll - Ph.D. (Virginia Tech)
    Microbial metagenomics
  • Jennifer Gallagher - Ph.D. (Yale University)
  • Jessica Hoover - Ph.D. (University of Washington)
    Organometallics chemistry, Catalysis
  • Peng Li - Ph.D. (Texas Tech University)
    Micro-nano systems
  • Melissa Marra - Ph.D., R.D. (Florida International University)
    Healthy aging and nutritional prevention of chronic disease
  • Gary Marsat - Ph.D. (McGill University)
  • Daniel Mathew - Ph.D. (University of Missouri
    Reproductive physiology
  • Blake Mertz - Ph.D. (Iowa State University)
    Computational biophysics and chemistry
  • Carsten Milsmann - Ph.D. (Ruhr University Bochum)
    Inorganic synthesis and spectroscopy
  • Melissa Olfert - DrPh, R.D. (Loma Linda University)
    Health and wellness
  • Brian Popp - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Organic and organometallic chemistry, Catalysis
  • Kevin Shaffer - Ph.D. (West Virginia University
    Extension livestock specialist
  • Cangliang Shen - Ph.D. (Colorado State University)
    Food system and human health

Clinical assistant professor

  • Zach Fowler - Ph.D.
    Arboretum Director

Teaching Assistant Professors

  • Kevin Barry - Ph.D. (University of Maryland)
    General biology
  • Erin Battin - Ph.D. (Clemson University)
    Bio-inorganic chemistry
  • Adam Burda - MS (Indiana University of PA)
    Human nutrition
  • Melissa Ely - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    General chemistry
  • Amaris Guardiola - Ph.D.
    General biology
  • Dana Huebert-Lima - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Biology; Epigenetics
  • Kevin Lee
    Virology, Cell and molecular biology methods
  • John Navaratnam - Ph.D.
    General biology
  • Mark R. Tinsley - Ph.D. (Leeds University)
    General chemistry, Physical chemistry
  • Stephanie T. Young - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Molecular and Forensic Biology

Senior Lecturers

  • Sue Raylman - Ph.D.
    Animal behavior
  • Mark Schraf - M.S. (West Virginia University)
    Analytical chemistry
  • Elizabeth Thomas - M.S. (Clemson University)
    Invertebrate zoology


  • Sydha Salihu - Ph.D.
    Plant physiology

Professors Emeriti

  • Harry O. Findlea - Ph.D. (California Institute of Technology
    Analyical/physical chemistry
  • E. Keith Inskeep - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Reproductive physiology
  • Paul Lewis - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Reproductive physiology
  • Robert S. Nakon - Ph.D. (Texas A&M University)
    Inorganic chemistry
  • Ronald B. Smart - Ph.D. (University of Michigan)
    Analytical chemistry
  • Alan M. Stolzenberg - Ph.D. (Stanford University)
    Inorganic chemistry
  • Anthony Winston - Ph.D. (Duke University)
    Polymer chemistry